The University of Arizona

Start for Success Grants

Funding Links

Contact Research Development Services 
Phone: (520) 621-8585


Research Advancement Grants

Category 1: Start For Success Grants

Funding to initiate Early Stage Project Development -- Incubating New Transdisciplinary Research Programs

Federal agencies are increasingly funding larger scale, cross-cutting efforts that address specific transdisciplinary challenges. These grants are designed to start new Transdisciplinary Research Programs—by creating and building teams, mapping out the opportunities, solidifying the approach, broadening partnerships and networks in support of the proposed plan that will result in proposal submission and successful funding.

Overview:Start for Success grants provide funding to facilitate early stage research program creation and development to enable interdisciplinary investigator groups to incubate promising new research ideas that will lead to new extramural funding. These groups should address broad interdisciplinary themes, convene on a regular basis and include researchers from multiple disciplines across campus.

Alignment criteria: Alignment with university strategic priorities Never Settle, RDI Strategic Planning Sessions, and TRIF Research Initiatives.

Expected outcome: A development plan at the end of the internal support that will lead to the submission of at least one proposal to the identified agency.

Maximum award: Up to $25K.

Deadline: Proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Eligibility: Leadership teams of two to four faculty (tenured-track or research track) members are eligible to apply and take responsibility for coordinating a broad network of faculty to develop the proposal plan. Teams must represent at least two distinct disciplines ideally from at least two colleges.

Review/Selection Criteria: RDI is responsible for the review process of Start for Success proposals.

Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria (in order of importance):

  • Feasibility of the resulting plan that enables application to the proposed external funding target
  • Likelihood that formation of the team/network will lead to a proposal
  • Fit with identified federal agency priorities, programs, and funding target
  • A compelling, qualified transdisciplinary investigator leadership team, evidence of integrated collaboration, and a well-reasoned justification for team’s transdisciplinarity
  • Strong support of one or more Dean(s), or university-wide Institutes and Centers, or TRIF Research Initiative
  • Alignment with faculty-identified strategic road mapping results or other university-level strategic plans (including TRIF research initiatives)


Online Application: Proposals are accepted via UA's Competition Space online application program

Questions on how to use UA Competition Space? Download instructions here.

Project Narrative: A three-page description which includes the following:

  • Description of proposal project, short- and long-term goals of the collaboration plan and activities designed to result in an application and successful award – be specific.
  • Extramural funding opportunity target, including known or anticipated Funding Opportunity (e.g., RFA/RFP title, agency budget request/priority, Decadal survey or National Academy priority), agency name, and submission deadline (anticipated timeline if not known).
  • Proposed research program significance and impact, a short description defining why the UA proposed team is uniquely positioned to be competitive in this area, and gaps needed to fill with this award (in order to achieve greatest competitive potential).

Budget Request and Justification:Please use the budget template to itemize and justify all planned expenses and to provide the contact information of the business office support staff member who will assist with award financial management.

Award is to enable team members to engage in activities leading up to an extramural proposal development for program-level research activity.

Funds may be used for the following activities:

  • To conduct a planning workshop with external speakers, including experts in the field and funding agency program staff;
  • To retain a consultant to strategize on program development and application;
  • Travel to pitch project concept and obtain feedback from agency/sponsor program leadership;
  • Personnel, in limited and well-justified circumstances.

Funds may not be used for faculty or administrative salaries.

Other Proposal Requirements:

  • Biographical Sketch of key personnel (4 pages each max; please use existing agency bio sketches where possible)
  • List of potential team/network members
  • Letter of support from relevant Deans or University-wide Institutes and Centers, or TRIF Research Initiative


Award notification:Co-PI team, department heads, and deans will be notified.

Outcome: PI teams are expected to develop a concrete proposal submission plan at the end of the internal funding period with specific milestones and activities that will result in the subsequent agency submission.

Research, Discovery, & Innovation (RDI) provides substantive assistance in extramural proposals planning and development, including Research Development Services, Strategic Business Initiative development, and federal agency engagement and consultation.

PI teams are expected to utilize these services and work collaboratively with the pertinent RDI services staff to enhance agency proposal competitiveness and success. In addition, PIs will need to effectively liaise with college/departmental staff on proposal budget planning.

Projects are expected to be completed in no more than 12 months after the start date.

Final Reporting:A report is required within one month of the end date of the activity and must be submitted to RDI via Competition Space. The report will include a description of activities performed, results obtained, and the external proposal development plan with expected dates for agency submission.

Review Service: Start for Success PI awardees are expected to serve as reviewers on at least two internal competition rounds over a three year period.

Failure to meet the award expectations results in ineligibility for receipt of subsequent internal funding from RDI.


Contact Research Development Services (RDS)